An Evening for Seamus Heaney
The closing concert of Belfast Music Week 2013 celebrates the late Nobel Laureate
The closing concert of Belfast Music Week, to be held at the city’s Waterfront Hall on the evening of Sunday November 17, will celebrate the longstanding and creative connections between the city of Belfast and Seamus Heaney.
After his native south Derry, Belfast was the place most deeply lodged in Seamus Heaney’s memory bank, part of the ever-present ‘home front’ in his poetry. He first came to the city as an undergraduate in the late 1950s and, apart from a year in California, lived here for the next 15 years.
It was in Belfast he grew from uncertain student to published poet, from teenager to husband and where he wrote his early collections, most notably Death of A Naturalist. It was also the place where he constantly returned to for readings, talks, and public events especially at his much-loved Queen’s University.
The Ulster Orchestra will perform music that both inspired the Nobel Laureate as well as music inspired in turn by his poetry. Charting the story, Heaney and Belfast, will be extracts of his poetry, alongside more autobiographical memories and some written memoirs.
These will be performed by some of Ireland’s leading actors, many of whom were close friends with Seamus Heaney. There will also be a chance to hear some of the music he specifically remembered at key moments in his life, ranging from his time as young lecturer in Belfast to his global standing as a Nobel Laureate.
Heaney avoided all excessive praise but was comfortable with Karl Miller’s description of him as 'a poet to be grateful for'. This concert, the climax of Belfast Music Week 2013, is Belfast’s expression of civic gratitude for a man who placed the city, to which he contributed so much, on the world’s cultural map.
Belfast Music Week is a celebration of local bands and venues, as well as the wider music industry and community. It features live music performances, workshops, seminars and networking events and includes over 250 events in 70 venues across the city. It's a chance to see legends and breaking talent, and to appreciate the ongoing success stories and a musical city that continues to make us proud.
Belfast City Council's Belfast Music Week, which runs from November 11 – 17, is co-ordinated by the Oh Yeah Music Centre, and supported by the Northern Ireland Tourist Board.